Ventura County Sees Growing Number of Uninsured Baby Boomers
The Ventura County Star and the California HealthCare Foundation Center for Health Reporting recently published a series of articles over three days that looked at the issues facing the growing number uninsured baby boomers in Ventura County. CHCF is the publisher of California Healthline.
Summaries of some of the articles appear below:
- "Uninsured Boomers Struggling to Stay Afloat": Because of the economic downturn, many baby boomers are losing their jobs and health insurance at a time when they are beginning toÂ experience age-related health issues. According to the Ventura County Health Care Agency, the number of uninsured patients between ages 45 and 64 being treated at Ventura County hospitals and clinics nearly doubled from 4,832 in 2005 to 9,060 in 2009, making it the largest age group of uninsured patients. At the same time, the unemployment rate for those between 50 and 64 more than doubled from 3.8% in 2005 to 8.7% in 2009 (Gonzales/Kisken , Ventura County Star, 4/30).
- "Healthcare Outlook More Bleak for Baby Boomer Women": Single female baby boomers face an even more daunting health insurance landscape because of their marital status, age and pre-existing conditions, according to study released in February by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The study found that one out of four unmarried female baby boomers in California is uninsured. The study also found that uninsured women were more than five times as likely to put off a Pap test and nearly four times as likely to delay mammograms as those who receive employment-based coverage (Gonzales/Kisken , Ventura County Star, 4/30).
- "County Programs Offer Lifeline to Uninsured Boomers": Ventura County's Access Coverage Enrollment health care plan for low-income adults has been a temporary solution for many of the newly uninsured baby boomers in the area, with more than 4,900 joining the program over the last three years. The program, which has served 13,000 area residents, puts a strong emphasis on preventive care by providing services at 30 county-run specialty and general care facilities for enrollees at discounted rates. Federal funding for the plan is set to expire at the end of August, but the California Department of Health Care Services is expected to ask CMS for an extension andÂ might ask forÂ funding to expand the program to other counties (Kisken , Ventura County Star, 4/30).
- "Doctors Pull Extra Shifts at Crowded Free Clinics": The growing number of uninsured baby boomers has created an increased demand at Ventura County's no-cost clinics. Such clinics are scrambling for additional resources. In addition, policy barriers, such as a requirement that no-cost clinics purchase malpractice insurance for physicians, make it difficult to find volunteer physicians (Gonzales , Ventura County Star, 4/30).
The series also featured stories about county residents' experiences obtaining coverage and care. Headlines and links appear below:
- "Carol's Story: Long Breathless Wait for an Inhaler" (Kisken , Ventura County Star, 4/30).
- "Danny's Story: Boomer Mired in Debt, Health Problems" (Gonzales , Ventura County Star, 4/30).
- "Jack's Story: Suffering Stroke, He Traveled Across County for Cheaper Care" (Kisken , Ventura County Star, 4/30).
- "Mike's Story: Uninsured Father Worries his Family's Future is at Risk" (Kisken , Ventura County Star, 4/30).
- "Nora's Story: Blind, Uninsured, and 6 Years to Medicare" (Kisken , Ventura County Star, 4/30).
- "Ramesh's Story: To Uninsured Engineer, India is Hope" (Kisken , Ventura County Star, 4/30).
"This reality of a tough economy and skyrocketing health care costs hitting home has stripped away retirement dreams, emptied bank accounts and sent some baby boomers spiraling into depression," according to a Ventura County Star editorial published Sunday. Until 2014, when most of the provisions in the new national health reform law are enacted, local clinics and programs "will have to serve as stopgaps" to help uninsured county residents, the editorial states (Ventura County Star, 5/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.